A new report concludes that the augmented reality (AR) market is expected to grow from $2.39 billion in 2016 to $61.39 billion by 2023.

The research from the Hadapsar, India-based analyst firm MarketsandMarkets cites increasing demand for AR devices and applications in healthcare, retail, and e-commerce sectors.

Augmented reality refers to the overlay of digital information into a user’s real-world environment, often through a heads-up display (HUD) or eyewear. The HUD market is still in the developing phase and is likely to commercialize in the near future, according to the study released today.

In addition to consumer applications like retail and e-commerce, however, AR plays a potential role for design engineers looking to model a product directly into an environment.

A recent case study from the Taufkirchen, Germany-based imaging technology provider FRAMOS  (a sponsor of this month's Tech Briefs presentation: Advances in Wearable Technologies) referenced an aeronautic industry customer who used augmented-reality eyewear to provide its maintenance engineers with virtual product designs, floor plans, and circuit diagrams — including handling instructions — of a part to be tested or repaired.

The Engineering Design Studio of NASA’s Langley Research Center, too, now features both virtual reality and augmented reality workstations, available to all members of the facility. With the Langley workstations, researchers can load virtual reality prototypes, see a product in three dimensions, and test if a demo works as planned.

Even brain surgeons are able to potentially use smart glasses to project CT scans and MRIs into their operating field of view .

With orders already being taken for the $99 iPhone-powered Mira Prism headset , do you see augmented reality as a way of improving design processes? Are you using augmented reality now, and if so, how?

Share your comments below.